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August 28, 1996

Estimating Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke

Author Affiliations

RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company Winston-Salem, NC

JAMA. 1996;276(8):603-604. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540080025014

To the Editor.  —Dr Pirkle and colleagues1 appear to have overlooked the impact that some of their findings have on recent attempts to regulate smoking in the workplace2 while overstating the potential impact on other risk assessments.3 For example, in proposing workplace regulations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has assumed that ETS exposure in the workplace (due to working with smokers) is equivalent to or greater than ETS exposure in the home (due to living with smokers). However, as the data of Pirkle et al show (Table 4), living with smokers results in at least a 2-fold increased exposure (as measured by cotinine) compared with working with smokers, which is similar to findings that have been reported by us4 and others.5Furthermore, in discussing their public health implications, Pirkle et al interpret their data as suggesting that there may be considerable ETS exposure within the control groups